The day before, former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said Finland had a “99.9 percent chance” of joining NATO. On Thursday, a joint statement by President Sauli Niinisö and Prime Minister Sanna Marini crossed out the remaining 0.1%. “Joining NATO will strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland will strengthen the defense alliance as a whole. Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” two leaders signed for the – expected – outburst from Moscow. has re-launched threats. Several European partners welcomed the change, while Sweden is expected to follow suit in the near future.
On Sunday, the special committee will announce Helsinki’s official decision on the membership proposal, which will head to the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels. Its Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, warmly welcomed the Finns and again committed himself to a “smooth and fast” accession process.
The last country to receive a club card, Northern Macedonia, waited a year. But the moment is different and requires new agility from the 30 Members who will have to ratify the proposal unanimously in the relevant parliaments once it is adopted, probably at the Madrid Summit on 29 and 30 next month. This is because the mutual defense clause will not take effect until the final documents have been submitted in Washington to the State Department, the depositary of the agreement.
Until then, Russia is expected to launch cyber attacks, airspace violations and disinformation campaigns. But no more. “No one would seriously deny that Russia is likely to attack Sweden or Finland if they apply for NATO membership, because Russia clearly does not have the necessary resources. At the moment, it is not just stuck in Ukraine, it is putting up very badly. it is time to take military retaliation against Sweden or Finland, “says Deutsche Welle Elisabeth Braw, a researcher at the American Enterprise Institute.
There are those who are afraid of other reactions. Moscow may be tempted to technically block the accession process, as states in conflict will be prevented from joining the organization. For Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Russia may try to “stop the candidacy by taking over an island or a plot of land,” a researcher at the Institute of International Relations tells AFP. “This is possible because they have recently made decisions that don’t seem very sensible from our perspective,” he argues.
Moscow’s rhetoric was a shot in the foot. The day before, the President of Finland explained that the paradigm shift had taken place after Vladimir Putin’s administration stated that the accession of the two Nordic countries to the Defense League was unacceptable when it invaded Ukraine. However, no attempt was made to approach the matter more diplomatically. Without referring directly to Finland, former President and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev again spoke of the danger of a “real nuclear war” due to NATO’s support for Ukraine.
For a Kremlin spokesman, Finland’s membership is an “absolute” threat. “NATO enlargement and the Alliance’s approach to our borders will not make the world and our continent more stable and secure,” Dmitry Peskov said.
Finally, Russia’s foreign ministry said Moscow was “forced to take reciprocal military, technical and other measures to address the resulting threats to its national security.” In Medvedev’s voice, Russia had already threatened to deploy nuclear missiles in the Baltic Sea, although this threat has not had much of an impact, as weapons of this type are already entering the Kaliningrad enclave.
The Allies are eager to see the arrival of both countries, not so much because the Russian border has doubled in kilometers. In Stockholm and Helsinki, unlike most NATO countries that saw the end of the Soviet Union as a reason for investment, they undertook a process of modernizing and equipping their armed forces. Finns are proud of their artillery, intelligence and cyber security services, while Swedes are proud of their air and naval forces. In addition, the Finns have an army mobilizing 280,000 soldiers and 900,000 reservists.
Portuguese Foreign Minister João Gomes Cravinho will be in Helsinki today with his colleague Pekka Haavisto to discuss Finland’s accession to NATO and the situation in Ukraine.